South University . Price of hard-earned accomplishment. Ambition to pursue a better future.


Class of 2018

Welcome to South University

A school with a proud past and a promising future

Established in 1899, South University is a private, nonprofit institution with a long history of driving student success. 

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Savannah Commencement

Information For Graduates

Commencement Day: What to Expect

  • All graduates must attend check in and line up to participate in commencement.
  • Plan to arrive two hours before their ceremony for check in.
  • Bring your cap, gown and hood (for Master’s graduates) with you.
  • Once graduates have arrived for check-in they will NOT have an opportunity to leave the trade center until the ceremony has concluded.
  • The ceremony is estimated to last up to 2 hours.
  • As a courtesy to all graduates and their guests, please do not leave until after the ceremony is completed.
  • Eat a hearty lunch before you arrive for check in.
  • Bring snacks and water with you.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • It is warm in Savannah so wear something lightweight underneath your regalia – business casual is recommended.
  • Family and friends do not need a ticket to enter the ceremony.
  • Seating at the ceremony is first come, first serve. Doors open two hours prior to the ceremony.
  • The Savannah Trade and Convention Center provides adequate parking, however there is a very long walk from parking to the entrance. Plan accordingly.
  • Honors society ropes are provided by the individual society, not South University. Please contact any honor societies you are a part of to request cords.
  • Plan to leave any personal belongings with a family member or friend during the ceremony. South University is not responsible for any lost or stolen items left unattended.

Traveling to Savannah

Travel - Getting to Savannah

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport is located 15 miles from Savannah’s Historic District. Scheduled airlines include Delta, JetBlue, United and US Airways.

*For more travel information, click here.

Getting to Savannah by car is best accessed via Interstate 95 (North/South) or Interstate 16 (East/West)

*For more travel information, click here.

Savannah is a major stop on Amtrak's Palmetto and Silver Service lines between New York and Miami. The Silver Star and Silver Meteor provide daily service to and from Savannah.

*For more travel information, click here.

Savannah is a hub for Greyhound Bus Lines. Easily access Savannah by bus from all over the United States.

*For more travel information, click here.


Travel - Getting Around in Savannah

The Savannah Belles Ferry provides transportation across the Savannah River as an alternative to the Talmadge Bridge linking the Savannah Historic District and Hutchinson Island, site of the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center and the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa.

Savannah Belles Ferry Schedule

Ferry Landings Locations

  • River Street at City Hall
  • Waving Girl Landing at the Savannah Marriott Riverfront
  • Hutchingson Island at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center and adjacent to the Westin Savannah Harbor Resort & Spa.

There are many taxi options in Savannah. Click here for taxi fare estimates.

Yellow Cab of Savannah

Savannah Taxi Cab

Hotels in the Area

Historic District

14 Barnard Street

Directions/ Map

The Bohemian -
Savannah Riverfront

102 W Bay Street

Directions/ Map

Courtyard by Marriott -
Historic District

415 W Liberty Street

Directions/ Map

Doubletree -
Historic District

411 W Bay Street

Directions/ Map

Four Points by Sheraton -
Historic District

15 MLK Boulevard

Directions/ Map

Inn at Ellis Square -
Historic District

201 W Bay St

Directions/ Map

Residence Inn Marriott -
Historic District

500 W Charlton Street

Directions/ Map

Westin Savannah Harbor
Golf Resort & Spa

1 Resort Drive

Directions/ Map


Places to See in Savannah

Savannah Historic District

The Historic District of Savannah is the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with cobblestone streets, manicured gardens, and oak-shaded parks drizzling with silvery Spanish Moss. The perfect Georgia vacation destination for all ages – abuzz with art, culture, festivals, concerts, live theater, outdoor cafes, gourmet restaurants, and true Southern hospitality. The largest National Historic Landmark District in the United States, Savannah contains more than twenty city squares filled with museums, churches, mansions, monuments and famous forts of the Revolutionary & Civil War eras.

City Market

Savannah’s City Market comprises a four-block area of restored warehouses and shop fronts adjacent to Ellis Square. This charming, open air marketplace has a wealth of things to do in Savannah.

River Street

Savannah’s City Market comprises a four-block area of restored warehouses and shop fronts adjacent to Ellis Square. This charming, open air marketplace has a wealth of things to do in Savannah.

Old Fort Jackson

River Street is a glittering, multi-faceted gem along the broad Savannah River. The century old buildings, once cotton warehouses, have been converted to antique shops, distinctive boutiques, spectacular galleries, quaint brew pubs, fabulous restaurants, unique nightspots, elegant inns and hotels. Bustling with welcoming hospitality, it’s also the place to see Savannah from the river that made her by taking a cruise or watching ships from around the globe sail into one of the busiest ports in America.


About Savannah - A Brief History

History of Savannah

Savannah’s recorded history begins in 1733 when General James Oglethorpe and 120 passengers of the good ship “Anne” landed on a bluff high along the Savannah River. Oglethorpe named the 13th and final American colony “Georgia” after England’s King George II and Savannah became its first city.

The colony of Georgia was chartered as a buffer zone for South Carolina, protecting it from the advance of the Spanish in Florida.

Colonial Period

Upon settling, Oglethorpe became friends with the local Yamacraw Indian chief, Tomochichi. As a result, the town flourished without warfare and accompanying hardship that burdened many of America’s early colonies.

Savannah is known as America’s first planned city. Oglethorpe laid the city out in a series of grids that allowed for wide open streets with shady public squares and parks. Savannah had 24 original squares; 22 squares are still in existence today.

Revolutionary War and Antebellum Period

During the American Revolution, the British took Savannah in 1778 and held it into 1782. After independence was secured, Savannah flourished. Farmers discovered the soil was rich and the climate favorable for cultivation of cotton and rice. After the invention of the cotton gin on a plantation outside of Savannah, the city rivaled Charleston as a commercial port. Many of the world’s cotton prices were set on the steps of the Savannah Cotton Exchange – the building is still in existence.

Civil War

During the Civil War, Savannah suffered from sea blockades so strict that the economy crumbled. The city itself did not fall until Union General William Tecumseh Sherman entered after burning the city of Atlanta and everything else in his path. On December 22, 1864, he sent a famous telegram to President Abraham Lincoln, offering the city as Christmas present.

Reconstruction and the Turn of the Century

After the end of the Civil War, the Reconstruction period began in Savannah. Food was scarce and the economy was in ruins. Despite these hardships and the added burdens of prejudice, the freed slaves who remained in Savannah built a thriving community. Savannah became one of the most historically significant African-American cities in the nation. At the turn of the 20th century, cotton was king again. Savannah thrived, as did her new industries, including the export of resin and lumber.

Savannah’s Renaissance

It wasn’t until the post-war years that Savannah bounced back again, not just economically but also culturally and aesthetically. A group of women banded together in the 1950s to preserve historic structures, beginning the Historic Savannah Foundation. Savannah’s Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. Other significant buildings that were saved and restored include: The Pirates’ House, The Olde Pink House, the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, and many more.

Modern Savannah

In the last 10 years more than 50 million people came to visit Savannah, drawn by its elegant architecture, ornate ironwork, fountains and green squares. Savannah’s beauty is rivaled only by the city’s reputation for hospitality. It has become one of the country’s most popular vacation spots.

Learn more about Savannah’s history here

South University Savannah Campus


South University
709 Mall Boulevard
Savannah, Georgia 31406
P: 866.629.2901


South University traces its heritage to 1899, when Dr. John Draughon established Draughon’s Practical Business College in Savannah, Georgia. The school was originally located in the Masonic Lodge that stood on the northeast corner of Liberty Street and Whitaker Street on the west side of downtown Savannah. During its early years, the College was moved several times to accommodate growing enrollment, and eventually was settled into the Atlantic Mutual Building.

The school’s name was changed to Draughon’s Junior College when it was acquired in 1974 by the South family, longtime civic and business leaders in Savannah. That year, the school was relocated to its original neighborhood and began a period of expansion into a multi campus system with the addition of a campus in West Palm Beach, Florida. In 1986, the institution’s name was changed to South College.

In 1996, the College became a four-year school with the addition of a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. That same year, the College reorganized its administrative structure into the School of Business and the School of Health Professions with the addition of the Bachelor of Science in Physician Assistant program and the Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant program.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accredited the institution to confer master’s degrees in 2001, and the Master of Science in Physician Assistant degree program was added. In October of that year, with the addition of this post-baccalaureate degree program, South College officially became South University.

In January 2002, the University announced plans to open a School of Pharmacy on the Savannah campus and to offer a Doctor of Pharmacy degree program. In December 2002, South University received accreditation to award doctoral degrees. So, in a span of seven years, the school had been transformed from a two-year college granting associate’s degrees and certificates into a four-year university with four campuses, multiple bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, and the ability to offer doctoral degree programs.

In 2004, the University began web-based instruction with the introduction of online bachelor’s degree programs in Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. The Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree programs were added in 2005.

At the Savannah campus in 2007, South University opened a new library, more than tripling the size and resources available to students and faculty.

South University’s growth is a visible expression of its mission, as well as a response to the demand for a well-educated and highly trained workforce in public and private sectors.


Disability Accommodations

If you are a graduate with disability and you need assistance receiving your diploma or participating in the commencement ceremony or a guest has a special accommodation request related to a disability, please contact:

Craig Tootle, Associate Dean of Students

Phone: 912-201-8021


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